What could be better than a meal that combines cinnamon, ginger, cumin, cardamom, turmeric, paprika, garlic and cilantro? This Omani meal is so easy to make: Combine the spices, add yogurt and marinate chicken for a couple of hours. Next, cook the chicken and run under the broiler for a final browning touch. Serve on a bed of basmati rice and you've got a wonderful dish that smells and tastes of a distant and beautiful land. I imagine Omani families sitting down to enjoy a meal together, and that's a beautiful thing no matter what language you speak or who you worship.
Prior to 1507, when the Portuguese laid claim to the country, Oman was under heavy rule from the United Kingdom, although it was never actually part of the the British Empire or one of it's protectorates. Despite Portuguese rule, Omani forces maintained control of most of the interior country. Since 1744, the country has been ruled by the Al Bu Sa'idi dynasty, and continues to have strong military and political ties to U.S. and U.K, but maintains independence from foreign policy.
Cuisine in Oman is a mixture of staple Asian-influenced foods, but tends not to be as hot and spicy as most Asian foods. Chicken, fish, mutton and rice are all eaten regularly. Seasonings include rich mixtures of cardamom, ginger, cumin, cinnamon, cumin, cloves and coriander, which as blended and used in soups, stews or in marinades.
Chicken Tandori (Adapted from Desitwist.com)
1 whole Chicken (I used thighs)
1/2 cup plain yogurt
4 large cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1 tsp. Omani mixed spice (recipe below)
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. cardamom
1 finely chopped (small) hot pepper or 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
4 Tbsp chopped fresh coriander or cilantro
Skin the chicken and cut into 8 pieces (if using a whole chicken).
In a bowl, mix the chicken with all of the other spices and ingredients, except for fresh chopped coriander.
Add a few tablespoons of oil to a heavy and heat until oil is good and hot, but not smoking. Place the chicken in the pan bony side down. Sprinkle the fresh coriander over the chicken. Cover with lid.
Lower the heat to the minimum level and allow to simmer for 50-60 minutes or until the chicken is tender. you may serve chicken as is, or brown it under a broiler for a few minutes.
Serve with Basmati rice and garnish with fresh cilantro.
Omani Spice Mix (Buharat) - (adapted from ehow.com)
4 tsp. paprika
4 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground cardamom
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground ginger
Add all the individual spices together in a bowl.
Place the mixed spices in a covered jar and use for future recipes
Can be added directly to stews or used as a marinade.